First Look: Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’

Life of Pi has taken its good sweet time journeying from the bookshelf to the box office. First published in 2001, Yann Martel‘s novel passed through the hands of M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet before ultimately ending up with Ang Lee in 2009. A tricky adaptation process and budgetary woes helped keep the film in development hell a few years longer, but Lee struggled through and at long last, we finally have our first little peek at the new movie. Hit the jump for a still.

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‘Life of Pi’ Gets a New Release Date

Briefly: Now that Peter Jackson’s next film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, has a firm release date of December 14, 2012, it is time for other studios to start reworking their December schedules to get out of the way of the Middle-Earth juggernaut. The first project to scramble out of the way is Life of Pi, Ang Lee‘s adaptation of Yann Martel‘s novel. Fox has just moved the film to December 21, 2012, which is still a pretty damn good date for the film.

The project has taken a long time to come together, with several directors trying to get the adaptation going. It is finally moving forward as Ang Lee was able to come up with a plan to make a 3D film that met with Fox’s approval. Suraj Sharma, a high schooler from Delhi and newcomer to acting, has been cast as the film’s title character Pi Patel — the teen who, after a shipwreck, is left floating in the middle of the sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, zebra, hyena and orangutan. Gerard Depardieu will play Chef, a pivotal character; Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Spider-Man) will play the adult Pi; and Adil Hussain will play Pi’s father. Bollywood star Tabu will play Pi’s mother. Tobey Maguire will play a journalist who interviews Pi about his experience. [THR]

Tobey Maguire has signed on to co-star in Ang Lee‘s big screen adaptation of Yann Martel‘s novel Life of Pi. Lee and Maguire previously worked together on The Ice Storm and Ride With the Devil.

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Ang Lee’s Unused ‘Hulk’ Robot

Before eventual Oscar-winning director Ang Lee decided on going full CGI for his 2003 superhero film Hulk, the production  experimented with a fully animatronic version of the character. How do we know? Steve Johnson, of course.

The special effects master who has been blowing the doors off superhero pre-production is back again. This time, though, he has more than photos. While Johnson has been using Facebook of late to show some of the hundreds of thousands of still photographs he possesses from his 30 plus years of Hollywood effects work, he also has a fairly active YouTube channel. That’s where he chose to debut this footage of tests done for Ang Lee’s Hulk.

Johnson also promises to continue to reveal tens of thousands of hours of footage from his 30 year career both on YouTube and in special behind-the-scenes DVDs he’s beginning to sell. Check out the video and more after the break. Read More »

After a couple years of stalls, Ang Lee‘s big screen 3D adaptation of Yann Martel‘s novel Life of Pi is finally moving forward. The director recently cast newcomer Surej Sharma as the title character, and has now added three more names to the cast. Gerard Depardieu will play Chef, a pivotal character; Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Spider-Man) will play the adult Pi; and Adil Hussain will play Pi’s father. Bollywood star Tabu is in talks to take the role of Pi’s mother. [Variety]

After the break I’ve dropped a refresher synopsis of Life of Pi along with the details we know about the production. Read More »

An adaptation of The Life of Pi has taken a winding road to the screen. For the last year Ang Lee has been on the cusp of making the film, but it’s not the easiest thing to translate to film. (Or so I’m told; the book hasn’t floated to the top of my reading stack yet, but I’m getting there.) Issues included cracking the story for a workable screenplay, budgeting said screenplay, and casting the lead. Now Ang Lee has found his lead, and he has secured a shooting plan and a budget from Fox. Read More »

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ang lee

Just a month ago, it looked like Ang Lee might finally get his adaptation of the novel The Life of Pi off the ground at Fox. A film based on the book, which depicts a boy stranded on a boat with a tiger, hyena, zebra and orangutan for 227 days after a shipwreck, has long been in development hell. At the time, Fox was expected to make a decision about greenlighting the film by…well, now. And at this point, the light is not green. Read More »

ang lee

The Life of Pi, which depicts a boy, Pi, stranded on a boat with a tiger, hyena, zebra and orangutan for 227 days after a shipwreck, was optioned years ago but has long been stranded in development hell. The simple fact of those characters on screen together is only part of why the movie has taken so long to develop — there are also story aspects that deal with religion, culture and truth.

Ang Lee has been attached to the film for some time, after earlier director attachments M Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuaron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet all fell away. Now it looks like Lee’s version of the film might actually happen. Read More »

Ang Lee Updates Progress on Life of Pi

ang lee life of pi

Things are moving along (albeit slowly) with Ang Lee’s adaptation of the fantasy novel Life of Pi. Speaking recently with Digital Spy, Lee mentioned that he’s recently turned in his first draft of the script, and that we can probably expect it in two years. He hasn’t thought about casting as of yet.

The story follows a young Indian boy who ends up stranded on a boat for 227 days with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger. Something tells me they’re going to work extra hard to find the perfect child actor for this role, since he’s going to be the only human for most of its run time. The project has caught the attention of many directors, including M. Night Shyamlan, Alfonso Cuaron, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet since the novel by Yann Martel was released in 2001.

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